Wearing makeup while masked
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With or without a Mask: Inexpensive Makeup Tips

Many of us are sporting a new accessory on our social outings – a face mask. According to the CDC, wearing face masks in public could help slow the spread of COVID-19.1 And we’re ready for this virus to be history. But we’ve also learned how often we touch our faces and how dangerous that could be. A 2015 study of 26 Australian medical students found participants touched their faces 23 times an hour.2 Whether you choose to wear a mask or not, here are some makeup tips to help you feel like you’ve had a session with a Hollywood makeup artist without the major cost.

Primed and ready

Even celebs and reporters are struggling with makeup and our new normal. The Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie got grilled on Twitter over her at-home hair and makeup routine, and she had a great response: “We are all doing our own hair and makeup during the pandemic. And yes it shows!”

Regardless of your profession, if you need some help with your own makeup routine to feel great, let’s start off with primer. Primer could keep your makeup in place in the heat and humidity, smooth out fine lines and actually aid in application.

Building a foundation

Foundation creates an even color palate for makeup application. Wearing a mask? Consider just applying product where it will be seen and not under your mask. CNN reports masks can confine sweat, oil and dirt on the skin resulting in acne, eczema and rosacea flare ups.3 Try long-lasting formulas, oil-free foundations or waterproof formulas applied with a light-hand to help with potential smudging.

  • Revlon PhotoReady Candid Foundation – brags a natural finish with anti-pollution, antioxidant and anti-blue light ingredients. This formula is free from oils, parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes and fragrances. So it won’t clog pores. Choose from 31 shades.
  • L’Oréal True Match Foundation – is known for its blendability and skin shade-matching choices. This oil-free formula with SPF protection won’t clog your pores. Choose from 45 shades.
  • NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Waterproof Foundation – boasts a waterproof and long-lasting formula. So it’s a good choice when it comes to mask-wearing, water, heat and humidity. It’s lightweight to cover without being cakey. And it’s formulated to not clog pores. Cruelty free.

Give ‘em the eye

Lately, I’ve been working my smize techniques (“smile with your eyes” à la Tyra Banks) while wearing my mask. You can easily accentuate your eyes with a few budget-friendly makeup items. Make your eyes “pop”, look bigger, brighter and more awake with mascara. Eyes will be the main focus while flaunting a mask.

  • Maybelline Great Lash Mascara – is a tried and true fave for over 40 years! Choose from washable or waterproof formulas. And multiple colors such as Black, Brownish Black, and even Royal Blue give you options.
  • Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara – touts volumizing power with a dramatic edge. Snag a washable or waterproof formula of this lash-building mascara! Brown and black shades offer customary choices, but how you wear them is up to you!
  • L’Oréal Voluminous Original Mascara – adds volume and length to your lashes for a bold look! Washable and waterproof formulas are available, as are funky colors like Deep Burgundy, Cobalt Blue and Deep Green. But if you like to stick with the staples, Black-Brown and Black hues are offered.

Brow power!

Eyes are the windows to the soul, and eyebrows are like the drapes. Okay maybe they’re not that poetic, but they are fashionable and functional. According to New York Institute of Beauty, brows help shape the face, accentuate the eyes and play a role in nonverbal communication. Perfecting your eyebrows could help your makeup look more polished and complete.4

  • NYX Cosmetic Tinted Brow Mascara – offers easier eyebrow gel application and could add more definition to your makeup look. This brow mascara tints and sets your eyebrows for a natural style.
  • Maybelline Total Temptation Eyebrow Pencil – features that classic eyebrow pencil look, but holds major perks. A teardrop-shaped, angled applicator provides more application precision. Outline, shape, and fill in those brows with ease. An attached spoolie helps blend.
  • Rimmel London Brow Sculpting Kit – showcases a colored wax to define your eyebrows and a complimenting setting powder to finish off the look. Angled brush and spoolie are included. Achieve full and natural or bold and daring eyebrows.

Are you blushing?

Blush adds color and definition to your face glow-up. While wearing a mask, you may not want to apply blush since it could be covered, smudged or cause irritation. Of course the choice is yours, so here are a few bashful blush options.

  • Covergirl Cheekers Powder Blush – provides an easy-to-work-with formula for everyday wear. Choose from several colors so you can show off a striking style or a natural hue whenever you want. Complete with brush.
  • e.l.f. Monochromatic Multi-Stick – is a cream-to-powder formula that can be used on cheeks, lips and eyelids. Blendable and lightweight for an easy-to-do look. Even better, this product is phthalates, parabens, and cruelty free.
  • Maybelline Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush – strikes the right notes with its lightweight formula and water-infused color to boast a naturally flushed look. Several lovely hues are offered.

Lip service

Lips can get chapped and burned just like the rest of our faces. If you’re wearing a mask or not, it’s a good idea to keep your lips hydrated. A lipstick or gloss with a mask may not be necessary and possibly messy but hey, you do you!

  • ChapStick Lip Balm – is a lip protectant staple. This affordable moisturizer is easy to apply, features eleven moisturizing ingredients and provides SPF 15 sun protection.
  • Neutrogena MoistureShine Lip Soother Gloss – has a high gloss formula with hydrating ingredients to condition lips and lock in moisture. SPF 20 sunscreen gives added protection. Gloss features lovely natural tints to choose from.
  • Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lipstick – features intense, long-wearing color. Beeswax, Moringa oil, raspberry seed oil, and vitamin E help moisturize lips. Burt’s Bees offers tons of fun shades for a look that’s perfectly you. These lipsticks are paraben, phthalates and petrolatum free.

Ready, setting spray, go!

Use a setting spray or finishing spray to complete your look and hold your makeup in place. Makeup sprays can also provide a matte or luminous look to your makeup, depending on the specific product. Here are a few that might be worth your while.

  • Wet n Wild Photofocus Natural Finish Setting Spray – extends the life of your makeup, and sets it beautifully. This hydrating formula prevent fading and creasing while completing your look with a dewy skin finish.
  • e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set – is designed to hold your makeup look in place while soothing and hydrating your skin. Spray on sponges or brushes before applying makeup to create even longer wear!
  • Hard Candy Sheer Envy Setting Spray – locks in your makeup for up to 12 hours. Designed for a matte look, this spray absorbs oil to reduce shine and hydrates skins with infused African bark and mushroom extract.

Makeup is your expression

Makeup can be a fun way to show our personalities and connect with others. But staying healthy is super important. Wash your hands, makeup brushes and sponges, and keep face touching to a minimum. Take good care of your skin and lips, and highlight eyes, eyebrows and cheeks, so you can rock ever-evolving styles sporting a face mask or not. And now you know you can do it on the cheap!


1Staff. (2020, May 22). About Cloth Face Coverings. Retrieved from CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

2Kwok, Y. L. A., Gralton, J., McLaws, M. (2015, February). Face Touching: A Frequent Habit That Has Implications for Hand Hygiene. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25637115/

3Saunders, N. (2020, May 15). How to care for your skin while wearing a face mask. Retrieved from CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/15/cnn-underscored/face-mask-skin-care/index.html

4Staff. (n.d.). The Importance of the Brow – Achieve Picture Perfect Eyebrows. Retrieved from New York Institute of Beauty: https://www.nyib.edu/importance-eyebrows/

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